Something for Everyone at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

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HeaderThe Goodwood Festival of Speed (FoS) runs from June 26 through 29, 2014 at the on the grounds of the Goodwood House in West Sussex, England. It offers automobile enthusiasts the opportunity to see professional racers competing in vehicles that range from historical to ultra-modern. The main event is a hill climb that draws drivers and other personnel from many Formula One racing teams, because it is scheduled to accommodate the year’s F1 racing schedule, but motorcycles, helicopters, yachts, and even a posh car show are also in the agenda.

image 1Visitors can expect to see an extraordinarily wide variety of cars and motorcycles, some very new and modern and some rare and vintage, climbing the hill in a timed attack. In addition to the many historical and innovative cars and bikes that will be present (including some of the most competitive F1 cars on the circuit) many world famous race drivers will be in attendance, both in and out of the competition.

image2The theme of the 2014 FoS is “Addicted to Winning” and this year’s event is certainly drawing an abundance of winners. Over 90 motorsport superstars have already confirmed their attendance on June 26 through 29. Racing legends from the fields of Formula 1, rally car racing, sports car racing, American performance car racing, motorcycle grand prix racing, and freestyle motorcross racing will be in attendance. Some will be competing on two-wheels, and some on four-wheels. Some will compete in multiple categories that include their own specialty, as well as a less conventional class.

Image 3Six F1 drivers are confirmed, including John Surtees, Kimi Raikkonen (F1 World Champion-2007), Emerson Fittipaldi, Jenson Button, Sir Jackie Hill, and Damon Hill. Driving legends from the grueling 24-hours of Le Mans will include Emanuele Pirro, Andre Lotterer, Henri Pescarolo and Jackie Oliver will all appear, as will World Rally champions Sebastien Loeb, Bjorn Waldegard and Didier Auriol. The “King” of NACCAR, Richard Petty, who won seven Winston (now called Sprint) Cup titles, will be in attendance, along with two time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip (in a NASCAR Toyota Camry that he owns), and Indy 500 winners Al Unser, Kenny Brack, Gil de Feran, and Dario Franchitti.

image 4Two-wheeled racers will include the most successful motorcycle racer in history and 15-time Grand Prix World Champion Giacoma Agostini, World Champion Freddie Spencer. Wayne Gardner, Chaz Davies, and Dougie Lampkin. Freestyle Motorcross heroes Petr Pilat and Edgar Torronteras, X-Games BMX legends Brandon Dosch and Kyle Forte, Olympic Hero Sir Chris Hoy, drag racing legend Ron Hope, and celebrity chef James Martin are also slated to attend.

Image 5The hill climb event takes place on a course that covers 1.16-miles, has nine turns, and will be run in an average time of just under one-minute. The fastest time for the hill climb was charted back in 1999 when driver Nick Heidfield completed the course driving a McLaren MP4/13 in only 41.6-seconds. Also on tap for the eventful weekend is a rally race to be held on the Forest Rally Stage, which is a 1.5-mile dirt and gravel course designed for all-terrain rally cars and trucks. The rally race was substituted for the Soap Box Derby, in which gravity powered racers competed in a downhill extravaganza, when the safety of the drivers and cost of the cars became too great a risk for the rewards.

Image6The Sunday times Supercar Run is also of particular note. This event involves the most powerful and seductive cars in the world from every continent. The latest and most innovative wares from Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, Bentley, and McLaren will be on rolling display as these top-tier automakers show-off their latest production models and concepts. This year a brand new McLaren racer is scheduled to debut on Sunday.

Providing lunch time entertainment for onlookers during the FoS will be the ever popular Wacky Racers and an air show that typically includes an RAF Tornado, or two.

Image 7Slowing things down a bit, the FoS will entertain the 20th Annual Cartier Style et Luxe concours d’elegance. This high-line auto show is designed to simulate a legendary Concours d’Elegance event. An overall victory, or even a class win at this event, can dramatically increase the value of any vintage or collector automobile.

This year will feature a 1923 Bugatti Type 23 Brescia in the pre-war sports car class. Class 2 will be dedicated to the 80 year-old Mercedes-Benz 500K. Mercedes-Benz is also this year’s featured marquee.

Image 8Italian automaker, Maserati celebrates its 100th birthday, flooding Class 3 with a brood of 1950s grand tourers including the A6GCS, the 3500 GT coupe, and the 5000 GT Touring. These Maserati models feature sheet metal work from Pininfarina, Zagato, Frua, and Allemano. Also in display, from the 1950s, is a stout dose of Americana known affectionately as the “Mad Men Cruisers.” It is slated to include a pristine 1959 Cadillac R+El Dorado Biarritz.

Image 9In the mid-engine powered class, expect to see many predecessors to today’s supercars. The Lamborghini Miura, Ferrari 250 LM, Ford GT 40, and McLaren M12 GT are sure to stun onlookers alongside popular muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s, including the Ford Mustang, which celebrates a 50th Anniversary this year.

The final class is the Best Foot Forward class and will feature front-engine powered cars like the Dodge Viper and British bred Bristol Fighter, as well as the “Ferrari-esque” 2004 Peugeot 907 Concept.

Image 10Judging is set to be hot and furious with this extreme level of rolling stock on display. Unlike your more conventional Concours d’Elegance events, the judges of the Style et Luxe are selected according to their knowledge and contribution to the arts as opposed to their automobile and restoration expertise. In this system, judging is not a scientific points governed process but a consideration of each entry as an object of beauty. As such, the interaction between judges can become quite heated at times as judges support their own tastes, which do not always coincide with the tastes of automotive enthusiasts.

This year’s distinguished panel of judges is scheduled to include actor Rowan Atkinson, athletes Sally Gunnell and Sir Chris Hoy, businessmen Sir Anthony Bamford and Sir Jonathan Evans, along with journalists Nick Foulkes and Geordie Greig. They will be joined by furniture designer Viscount Linley, Sir Jonathan Ive, the senior vice-president of industrial design at Apple, and renowned product designer Marc Newson.

The line-up is completed by chef Marcus Wareing, fashion director and model Charlotte Stockdale, and artist Jonathan Yeo.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.